Following a proposal by Mr. Christos Papoutsis, Commissioner responsible for tourism, the European Commission adopted on 30 April 1996 a proposal for the first multiannual programme to assist European tourism (1997-2000). The programme, named PHILOXENIA, aims to stimulate the quality and competitiveness of European tourism, taking into account the balanced and sustainable development of the sector, satisfaction of tourists' needs and the rational use of the natural, cultural and infrastructural resources. PHILOXENIA sets a number of general objectives, to be obtained through different specific actions, as follows: - The improvement of knowledge in the field of tourism by developing tourism-related information, pooling tourism information from other sources and facilitating the assessment of Community measures affecting tourism; - The improvement of the legislative and financial environment for tourism by reinforcing cooperation with Member States, the industry and other stakeholders; - The increase in quality of European tourism by promoting sustainable tourism and removing obstacles to tourism development; - The increase of the number of visitors from third countries by promoting Europe as a tourist destination. A further breakdown of these objectives, and the specific actions to be carried out for their implementation, can be found in the text (TXT) field of this news item. The actions of the programme will be implemented through reinforced cooperation with the national authorities and, if necessary, with the regional and local authorities, the industry and other parties concerned. The Commission will regularly evaluate the results of the programme and will present annually a report on all Community measures affecting tourism, which are carried out in the context of other Community policies. Together with the PHILOXENIA programme, the Commission adopted a report on the evaluation of the Community action plan to assist tourism (1993-1995), the objectives of which were to strengthen the horizontal approach to tourism, coordinate the relevant work undertaken by other Commission services and implement 11 specific measures. In the Commission's opinion, the action plan has been successful in establishing links between Commission services, Member States and other regional and sectoral interests. It has also provided the basis on which partnerships with the industry can be increased and further developed.